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Ladakh - Surreal Himalayan Safari

The Highest Jeep Safari in the World
Kasauli-Goshaini-Manali-Jispa-Tso Moriri-Tso Kar-Leh-Khardhung La-Lamayuru-Alchi
Duration: 13 nights & 14 days
Best Season: June-September
Tour Code: HIM01

ITINERARY
Day 01: Delhi to Kasauli
Day 02: Kasauli to Goshaini
Day 03: Goshaini
Day 04: Goshaini to Jispa
Day 05: Jispa to Sarchu
Day 06: Sarchu to Tso Moriri
Day 07: Tso Moriri to Tso Kar
Day 08: Tso Kar to Leh
Day 09: Leh
Day 10: Leh-Khardung La-Leh
Day 11 & 12: Alchi and Lamayuru
Day 13: Leh
Day 14: Leh to Delhi

Highlights

Visit the Great Himalayan National Park at Goshaini en route to Leh
Drive through high mountain passes
See spectacular Himalayan scenery in the ancient kingdom of Ladakh
Explore the magical land of Buddhist monasteries and ancient mud palaces
Look for unique Trans-Himalayan wildlife and birdlife
Enjoy traditional Ladakhi cuisine, culture and hospitality
Buy exotic local artifacts and handicrafts
Great photo opportunities
Interaction with friendly hill folk
Community work

Description
Ladakh, at the northern boundary of India, is an once-in-a-lifetime, must visit destination. The stark natural beauty is awe-inspiring. The best way to explore this rugged barren terrain is being on the road. This specially designed tour offers you just that -an opportunity to spend two weeks, driving and exploring the unique natural beauty of Ladakh.

The Manali-Leh road is open only between June and October every year before the snow closes it down again.

This exciting jeep safari crosses very high altitude passes of over 3000m. One can see amazing mountain passes, long stretches of flat, cold desert without a trace of vegetation, amazing natural rock formations and deep gorges of the rivers Beas, Chandra, Bhaga and finally Indus.

When the snow melts from the snow-clad mountains, one sees beautiful waterfalls and gurgling crystal clear mountain streams. Along the streams and rivers are human habitations with pockets of rich cultivated green fields, fruit orchards and wild exotic plants used for preparing herbal medicines.

On this increasingly popular overland route, one also gets gradually acclimatized to breathing in the high altitude air, which is a pre-requisite to staying at Leh.

We start the tour driving from Delhi to the beautiful, sleepy Himalayan hill town Kasauli where you can spend the day at leisure exploring it. The next day, we enjoy a scenic drive after breakfast from Kasauli to Goshaini (8-9 hrs). Goshaini is a scenic and pristine Himachali village nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. Our stay is one of the main attractions of this off the beaten track place. A delightful homestay on the banks of the Tirthan River, this quaint wooden lodge can be reached by sitting in a hand pulled pulley cart over the gushing river! The setting is picture perfect amidst apple orchards and high mountains and a river full of trout. Right on the riverbank, this place is ideal for relaxing, trout fishing, sharing stories around the fireplace or going for long walks, treks or picnics in the surrounding countryside adjoining the Great Himalayan National Park.

Overnight stay and all meals are at the Guesthouse run by a lovely Himachali family. The guesthouse owner's wife is probably one of the best Himachali cooks you will ever meet. From simple traditional Indian fare to some continental dishes she has picked up from guests, her warmth and love for cooking and taking care of guests is exemplary. An unforgettable experience of Himachali hospitality.

The next day is also at leisure to explore Goshaini and its surroundings too. We can organize for Trout fishing at Tirthan River along with picnic lunch at Bathad or you can visit the famous Chini Bungalow near Goshaini. We travel another 9 hours to reach Jispa over the Rohtang Pass (3980 m). One of the highest motorable passes, this drive has some stunning scenic views. Once we reach Jispa, we will check into a hotel. Evening is at leisure to enjoy the feel of the mighty Himalayas. A further 6 hours drive will take us to Sarchu over Baralacha Pass (4830 m) where we will be away from the touristy places deep into the Himalayan area. There are no hotels and very basic tourist facilities like fully serviced camps. We arrive in Sarchu in the afternoon and spend the evening at leisure chatting with other travelers huddled near open fires. Accommodation is in tents for tonight and the next few days. Make sure you carry enough woolens as the weather can become very windy and cold.

Next we explore the pristine lakes and the surreal awe inspiring natural beauty surrounding it. With clouds against clear blue skies, reflections on the turquoise water make it one of the most picture perfect sights of Ladakh. Part of the Changthang Cold Desert Sanctuary, it is sparsely populated by nomads, their herds of Yak and goat living in extremely harsh conditions.

We drive to Tso Moriri over Lachungla (5019 m). As you enter the Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation reserve area, the barren landscape and the lake make it a favourable place to see Bar-Headed Geese, Ruddy Shelducks and other water birds breading here.

We travel to the lake Tso Kar in the morning across Polo Kongka Pass. Made up of two lakes Tstartapuk Tso and Tso Kar, it's called 'white lake' in the local language as salt used to be extracted from it by nomads. The basin is a breeding area for Great crested Crebe, Brahminy Duck, Bar headed goose and Brown Headed Gull. You may also see Black-Necked Crane, Common Redshank, lots of other waders and waterfowl. Tibetan Wild Ass, Marmot, Stolizka's Mountain Vole are mammal species that are seen commonly.

The eighth day is when we finally drive into Leh over Tanglang La (5360 m) to reach in the afternoon. It is a welcome sight of civilization after so many days on the barren roads. Getting acclimatized to the rarified air, you need to take it easy and not indulge in hectic activity.

Exploring Leh city, you may choose to stroll along the main bazaar - observing the varied crowds. Looking into curio shops is an engaging experience. A particularly attractive sight is the line of women from nearby villages sitting along the edge of the footpath with baskets of fresh vegetables brought for sale. Behind the main bazaar, Chang Gali is less bustling but has interesting little shops selling curios and jewellery. Further on are the labyrinthine alleyways and piled-up houses of the old town, clustering around the foot of the Palace Hill. In the other direction, down the bazaar, are the Tibetan markets where one can bargain for pearls, turquoise, coral, lapis lazuli and many other kinds of semi-precious stones and jewellery, as well as carved yak-horn boxes, quaint brass locks, china or metal bowls, or any of a whole array of curios. When tired of strolling, one can step into any of the several restaurants; some of them located in gardens or on the sidewalks and serve local Tibetan, Indian and Continental cuisine. Also walk to the Leh Palace & Shankar Gompa, which belongs to Gelukspa school of Tibetan Buddhism. This small Gompa is a branch of Spituk Gompa, founded by the first incarnation of Skyabje Bakula (head monk of Spituk monastery).

After Leh city, it's time to hit the road again as we undertake a thrilling drive to the highest motorable road in the world at Khardung Pass (5360m). Evening is at leisure soaking in the culture, and warmth of traditional Ladakhi hospitality.

A trip to Ladakh is incomplete without a visit to Buddhist monasteries. So day the next two days include an overnight excursion to Alchi and Lamayuru to explore the beautiful monasteries and enjoy the stark landscape. Study the frescoes and murals at the ancient learning centre of Alchi or roam around the apricot trees. Be in awe of the murals of the thousand Buddhas and the large sculptur of the eleven headed Avalokiteshvara. Soak in the stunning visuals of the three storey high mud walls of the Sum-tsek temple rising above the river Indus. At Lamayuru, visit the earliest surviving Monastery of Ladakh, Yung-drung or the Swastika. You msut see the Naropa's cave accessed through the narrow dark alleys where you can see a life size image of Vairochana Buddha. These varied natural and manmade sights will make up an unforgettable trip.

We then return to Leh where after two weeks on the road, we leave the next morning to fly back to Delhi where the tour will end.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Delhi-Kasauli
Meals: on own
Drive to Kasauli (7 hours). Rest of the day at leisure. Time free to explore this Himalayan town. Overnight in a hotel.

2: Kasauli-Goshaini
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Drive from Kasauli to Goshaini(8-9 hrs), a pristine Himachali village nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. Enjoy a delightful homestay on the banks of the Tirthan River, which is crossed in a hand pulled pulley over the gushing river! The setting is picture perfect amidst apple orchards and high mountains and a river full of trout. Ideal for relaxing, sharing stories around the fireplace or going for long walks in the surrounding countryside adjoining the Great Himalayan National Park. Overnight stay at the Guesthouse.

Day 3: Goshaini
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Explore surroundings. Relax. Sit out in sun reading book or just go for a stroll near the river. The place is excellent for trout fishing, lazing, treks, and nature walks in Great Himalayan National Park. We can organize for Trout fishing at Tirthan River along with picnic lunch at Bathad. Visit the famous Chini Bungalow near Goshaini. Overnight stay at the Guesthouse.

Day 4: Goshaini to Jispa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
After early breakfast, drive (9 hours) to Keylong / Jispa over the Rohtang Pass (3980 m). Reach Keylong / Jispa and check into hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

Day 5: Jispa to Sarchu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
After breakfast, drive (6 hours) to Sarchu over Baralacha Pass (4830 m). Arrive Sarchu in the afternoon. Evening at leisure. Overnight in tents.

Day 6: Sarchu-Tso Moriri
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
After breakfast, drive to Tso Moriri over Lachungla (5019 m). One can expect to see bar-headed geese, ruddy shelducks and other water birds breading here. Overnight stay in tents.

Day 7: Tso Moriri-Tso Kar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Travel to the lake in the morning across Polo Kongka Pass. As you enter the lake area, you may see black-necked crane, common redshank, lots of other waders and waterfowl. Tibetan wild ass, marmot, Stolizka's mountain vole are mammal species that are seen commonly. Overnight stay in a tented camp.

Day 8: Tso Kar-Leh
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
After breakfast, drive to Leh over Tanglang La (5360 m) to reach in the afternoon. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 9: Leh
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Full day at leisure to explore Leh on own or visit Stok Palace, Shey and Thiksey monastery (optional). Overnight in a hotel.

Day 10: Leh-Khardung La-Leh
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
After breakfast, drive to the highest motorable road in the world at Khardung Pass (5360m) to return by afternoon. Evening at leisure. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 11 & 12: Alchi and Lamayuru
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Overnight excursion to Alchi and Lamayuru to visit the monasteries and enjoy the landscape. Overnights in a guest house in Alchi.

Day 13: Leh
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Return to Leh today. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in a guest house.

Day 14: Leh-Delhi
Meals: Breakfast
Transfer to airport to fly to Delhi. You will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Services included:
-Accommodation on twin sharing basis
-Meals as per the itinerary
-Guided tours
-Short Treks
-All surface transfers by a private vehicle (air-conditioning will not work while driving uphill)

Services not included:
-Optional tours/excursions, personal & incidental expenses.
-Tips, laundry, phone calls, alcohol, camera fee etc.
-International and domestic air fare, visa, insurance.

Please ask for Terms and Conditions

Write to us: wildindiatours@vsnl.com  info@asianadventures.in


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